HELSINKI Feb 13 Finnish department store and
retail chain owner Stockmann reported a surprise fall
in its quarterly operating profit, weighed down by weak
department store sales.
Operating profit stood at 57 million euros ($77 million),
down from 59 million euros a year earlier and missing analysts'
average forecast of 65 million euros.
"No permanent solution has been found for Europe's debt
crisis and this will continue to cause uncertainty in 2013. Slow
growth must be taken into account in our Finnish department
stores in particular, where operating profit in 2012 fell short
of expectations," CEO Hannu Penttila said in a statement.
However, Stockmann forecast its profit and sales to increase
($1 = 0.7427 euros)
(Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Chris Gallagher)